Despite a chance of rain, lack of participation, we piece together a group of 5 to hit the dimple ball around yesterday afternoon. We trade our normal Tuesday tee time for a Thursday spot at Plantation Golf Course which is just up the road from last weeks host site. Plantation has recently been bought by Windyke Country Club for some strange reason. Considering they already have two courses they can’t keep up, why not buy a third that is thirty minutes away? Wouldn’t be the first investment on my list. Never the less, we roll up at 5:30 and meet at the clubhouse. Joel, who we always lean on for picking teams, has been scheming for weeks on what team he was going to assemble to beat me. The odd numbers couldn’t work more to his advantage. Joel picks the teams as follows; himself, William and Andrew vs. Me and Jackson. Jackson, an ex D1 college football player, has recently picked up golf again after an 8-year hiatus, so I’ve got that going for me. Andrew brings the length to their team, Joel brings the consistency and touch around the green, and William has a sneaky good flat stick. Needless to say, they have a good team. On the first tee I work to get my back loose because I know it’s going to get a good work out today.
The 478 yard, Par 5 first hole starts out veering to the right along the entrance to the course, before turning back hard to the left around a lake. Joel and his team are up first all hitting drives down the right side, flirting with the street the entire time. Jackson shanks a drive, yes, a drive, over the heads of the golfers on the range across the street. I gather myself and hit a nice drive just to the right of the 150 yard stake. After fair approach shots by both groups, we have similar chips from opposite sides of the green. My pitch is marginal at best, leaving us about 20 feet for birdie. Our counterparts chip up nicely to about 5 feet, leaving them an uphill putt for birdie. After two misses we tap in for our underwhelming par, while JT and the Sunshine Band make their birdie. Not the start we wanted but we are awake now. The 2nd provides the first par 3 of the nine, measuring 159 yards, slightly up the hill and over a lake. Jackson and I just miss the green long with our tee shots, while Joel hits it on the front of the green leaving us putts of similar length. With little success putting thru the fringe, I leave myself a 3-foot, downhill, slider for par. I hit the lip but don’t get the friendly roll and Jackson misses his attempt. That gets me fired up. It has been well documented my struggles on par 3’s lately so 3 putts from 15 feet make me want to snap my putter over my knee. Cooler heads prevail and we move to the 3rd hole already down 2 strokes.
The short par 4 is guarded by a large tree just inside the dog leg on the left, forcing you to hit some sort of draw. William has caught a case of the shanks, and continues that here, while Joel and Andrew hit drives in the fairway, leaving them about 100 yards into the green. Jackson get’s a hold of his drive but over cooks the draw a little much putting him in the ditch. I hit a high draw around the tree which settles about 50 yards from the green. These fairways are fried compared to what we played last week. This makes no sense to me considering Cherokee Valley is a good half mile down the road. You would have thought they tarped the course to prevent rainfall for the last month. This doesn’t help my pitch, which I catch thin on the tight lie I’m playing from. The ball settles 25 feet past. Jackson hits one to about 35 feet but has a better angle so we play his. After two bad lag putts, three putt has been brought into play. It doesn’t help that the other guys have already cleaned up for a routine par. We both miss our par attempts out to the right and tap in for our bogey 5. That one stings but it’s not going to get better just yet. The 4th is a straight away par 4 with houses all down the right side and is wide open left. Joel, Andrew and William took Andrews drive that was solid down right side of the fairway. Jackson duffed his up by the ladies tees and I decide to go looking for new real estate. I hit a big high cut that just pushes across the fence line into a backyard. Laying 2 from 286, I take a three wood and hit one of the better shots of my life with this club. My G5 3 metal and I have always had a love hate relationship, kind of reminds me of that friend you have that is always off and on with his girlfriend. He can’t seem to break up with her, and when it’s bad, it is awful but when things are going well, they are talking about marriage. My shot comes to rest about 20 yards short of the green putting some pressure on the other group. All three of them miss the green leaving us a chance to get out of the hole with out anymore damage. That proved to be just a wish, after two poor chips and two putts thru the interesting patchwork texture of the greens. We move to the drivable par 4 5th 3 shots back, something has to happen and it needs to be quick.
After another shank from William, Andrew hitting it across the street and Joel in the left rough, the greenlight is on. Jackson hits first and destroys the golf ball with his Nike Sumo, brings back memories of KJ Choi. It ends up hitting the cart path, bouncing into the street and probably is still running down the interstate. I set up for a big high cut and make good contact. It’s definitely high enough, but is it going to be long enough. I start tracking it and it clears the front greenside bunker and settles on the back portion of the green. Mission accomplished. After a great recovery shot by Andrew, they are left with about 18 feet for their birdie, which Joel nearly jars on his first attempt but hits it a little too hard. They clear out with a par putting the pressure on us. Jackson rolls his by about 6 feet but shows me the line for my Eagle attempt. The putt breaks about 2 ½ feet to the left. I hit it right where I want to but it slides by on the low side. We clean up for birdie, picking up one shot on our foes. The 6th is another short par 4, down the hill to a perched green. Most of these holes are underwhelming at best, and this one is no different. I hit a good drive that ends up about 25 yards short of the green, so we take my ball. Andrew hits a nice low riser that ends up just short of the front greenside bunker. Both of us pitch up to about 8 feet and have a putting contest for our birdies. I step up and make ours to put the pressure on Joel and the gang. I may have pulled a Billy Madison and yelled “GO TO YOUR HOME BALL” about 2 feet before it went in so when William sinks the putt, Joel throws that right back at me. Three down with three to play. Not good. The par 5, 7th is the second hardest hole on the course, with a lake stretching the entire left side of the hole, and a lake that is off to the right side of the green. Joel and Andrew both hit good tee shots putting the pressure on us even more. Jackson hits his in the lake on the left, and instead of just putting something in play, I’m thinking about the 150 stake and top my drive into the ditch about 85 yards in front of the tee box. I retee and put all my frustration into this ball, and it comes to rest just in the rough about 152 yards from the green. Too bad we are laying 4. I hit 9 iron 100 feet in the air and end up about 20 feet past and Andrew ends up on the fringe but about the same distance away. We both make easy work of our two putts, the only issue being theirs was for par and ours was for bogey. The match is pretty much over so I turn up the tunes a little louder and relax a little bit.
The 8th is another short par 4 moving right to left, there is no trouble to be found except a big tree on the right side of the fairway. Taking every ounce of frustration out on the little white ball in front of me, I hit a drive about 320 down the middle. Andrew has honed in the low runner and tags one about 300 down the right side. Joel and Andrew both hit the green with their approaches. Jackson hits a little too much club and ends up in Number 10 fairway and I tug my lob wedge just off the back of the green. I hit an average chip about 8 feet past the hole. To add insult to injury William sinks another birdie putt and we can’t convert our par try. We are now down six shots going into the final hole. The par 3, 9th is 135 yards and has a two-tier green that slopes from back to front. Andrew, Joel and William all miss the green leaving us an opportunity for a moral victory. I hit the green with a gap wedge but it’s about 35 feet short of the flag. Joel hits a nice chip up close to the hole, leaving them a kick in par to close out their 3. We both hit good lags and clean up for our par as well. All good things must come to an end. My undefeated record is gone but that just means it’ll be a long time before they beat me again.
I was really disappointed with the condition of the course. The fairways were burnt out, rough was thin, greens were green but had patches of spongy thicker grass, and the fringe was growing into the main putting surface. The golf course lacks architecture, purpose and originality. No wonder the course architect’s name isn’t on the score card. Windyke has a lot of work to do to this course if they want to keep the doors open. As one of the most expensive public courses in North Mississippi, the condition of the course has to be top notch to draw your average weekender to play. This is going to be my worst review thus far. A score of 4.8/10 is only fair. Safe to say we are going to take this off of the Rota.
Big Cat was grinding yesterday and pieced together a even par round of 70 after starting bogey, double. Look for him to bounce back today as he is already -2 thru his first 3 holes and the golf world is going nuts. It should make for a good afternoon of golf. I am going to pick up the hats Monday morning and will post some pictures. Both white and grey were back ordered so we went with khaki and navy this time. I’m going to reorder those so hope to have them in the next week. Look for updates on Twitter and Instagram.
Hope everyone has a good Major Championship weekend and stays out of the Tight Lies.